Date:Saturday March 24 2012
Vital Wycombe would like to thank guest writer Joe Shennan for the following report.
Stuart Beavon`s dramatic stoppage time header earned Wycombe a deserved point against Franchise this afternoon at a hot and sunny Adams Park.
Beavon's beautifully placed header from Gareth Ainsworth`s corner provoked wild celebrations as the Blues celebrated a potentially vital point in their quest for league one survival.
Daniel Powell`s goal, just seconds after the restart looked to have given high flying Franchise all three points, but Wycombe showed the tenacity and spirit that has characterized their recent revival to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Going into the game, Wycombe fans had been left reeling from the loss of loanee striker Paul Hayes who was recalled by parent club Charlton Athletic. Nevertheless, the Wanderers more than matched their Bletchley opponents for long periods of the first half but were indebted to Nikki Bull for an heroic penalty save in the 10th minute after Marvin McCoy had bundled over Alan Smith in the box. Jay O'Shea's penalty was well placed, but Bull plunged to his right to make a superb diving save before bravely clinging onto the ball as opposition players closed in. It was Bull`s third consecutive penalty save.
Wycombe were galvanized by their keeper and comfortably frustrated the visitors, reducing them to speculative long range efforts, although Bull had to be alert again to thwart O`Shea when the ball dropped to the former Birmingham youngster on the angle. But Wycombe, with Craig Eastmond ubiquitous in the tackle in midfield, re-established a grip on the game and showed composure and confidence as referee Jock Waugh brought the first half to a close with the two sides level.
Franchise have failed to score in only one of their away games in the league this season and they snatched the lead today with a goal in the 1st minute of the second half. Gary Waddock will be disappointed with the manner in which the Blues fell behind - they were caught cold and failed to clear their lines, resulting in Powell`s impressive finish into the bottom left corner of Bull's net. The visitors threatened to extend their lead soon afterwards, and a second goal may have proved fatal to Wycombe`s hopes, but Bull made an excellent save from Powell with his legs as the goalscorer shot from inside the penalty area.
It was the last serious effort on goal from Franchise as Wycombe raised their game and began to get a foothold as the match moved past the hour mark. Ben Strevens directed a header over the bar from around 6 yards after Gary Doherty had flicked the ball on, but that aside Wycombe struggled to create many clear goalscoring opportunities against a well organized defence. Franchise, with manager Karl Robinson celebrating his 100th game in charge, seemed happy to sit back on their lead despite the introduction of Jabo Ibehre and Dean Bowditch as the game neared its conclusion.
It was an approach that worked up until injury time. With the fourth official having signalled 4 extra minutes, Wycombe won a corner on the main stand side. Roared on by the Adams Park faithful, Gary Waddock waved Bull forward and the green clad keeper charged into the penalty area. With all 22 players converging on the Valley Terrace goal, Ainsworth`s corner, though it sailed over the head of Bull, was perfectly flighted for Beavon who rose highest to send an expertly angled header into the top right hand corner of David Martin's net to send the home fans into delirium.
With the crowd buzzing, inconsistent referee Waugh blew his whistle just 2 minutes later to bring down the curtain on a fascinating encounter that left Wycombe fans feeling as though they`d just witnessed a victory. Whilst of course, that was not the case, it could prove to be another potentially crucial point as Wycombe continue their quest to salvage a season which has on occasion looked doomed. The bandwagon rolls on next week with a tricky trip to the Lamex Stadium to face Gary Smith's Stevenage.
Team & Ratings: Bull 8, McCoy 7, Doherty 7, Laing 7, Basey 7, Hackett 6 (Ainsworth 7), Lewis 7, Eastmond 8, McNamee 5 (McClure 6), Strevens 5, Beavon 7
Writer: Joe Shennan
Date:Saturday March 24 2012
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